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Are You Social or Selling? September Referral Selling Insights

Stop cold calling on social media.

You’re not one of those people who blast me with a sales pitch after I accept your LinkedIn invitation, are you? I don’t think so, because you’ve been reading my blog, so you know by now that social selling is all about being social.

LinkedIn is the place to begin a conversation and begin a relationship. Clicking buttons and sending a standard invitation doesn’t cut it. Neither does pitching—which belongs in baseball and should stay there.

Check out this short video I recorded with Koka Sexton in 2013. He was at LinkedIn then, and my new book, Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal, had just been published. Five years have passed, but the tenets are as true as ever. Why? Because we’re human!

Plus, check out this month’s blog posts from No More Cold Calling:

The Best Referral Programs Start with a “Referral Culture”

For the first time ever, clients are asking me how to build a “referral culture.” Sales VP Sam told me he wants to create a referral culture, as did CRO Sue, and CEO Amanda. Why? They recognize that referrals are the fastest and “stickiest” business development methodology for qualified lead generation. And they know the best referral programs require a sales culture where referrals are top priority.

What is culture, anyway? When I think about a referral culture, I think about the many aspects of a work environment and what it would take for people to have the best referral programs possible. Referrals must be part of their Sales DNA and the way they do business—when people are looking and when they’re not. (Read “The Best Referral Programs Start with a ‘Referral Culture.’”)

What Are Top Negotiation Strategies for Women in Sales?

I don’t like to negotiate for my services. It’s uncomfortable, because I know the pricing and terms for my referral system are fair. When clients pull out their negotiation strategies, it’s easy to get sucked into defensive mode and cave on price—even though my clients always agree that building a referral culture takes more than training. It takes commitment to a referral sales strategy. It’s a discipline that requires metrics, building skills, integrating referrals into their sales process, providing reinforcement and coaching, and ensuring accountability. Without these components, there’s no chance a referral sales strategy will gain traction. Everyone loses.

I used to be hesitant about quoting price (their investment), even though making the ROI case was easy. I’m no longer hesitant because I know (and my ideal clients know) what it takes to get results. Of course, it took me decades before I got to this point. Many women in sales still lack the negotiation strategies they need to confidently insist they get what they deserve. (Read “What Are Top Negotiation Strategies for Women in Sales?”)

Are You Tracking the Right Referral Metrics?

If you’re like most sales leaders, you’re tracking the wrong referral metrics and spinning your wheels. Craig had only one referral KPI, and it was the wrong one: the number of prospect meetings that his reps conducted. Meetings are an important activity metric, but your team will never fill their pipelines with hot referral leads if they skip the first step: asking for referrals. It may seem obvious, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get. At least not at scale.

Sales leaders tell their teams to get referrals, but their KPIs don’t include referral activities or results. Makes no sense, does it? Instead, they measure reps on calls made and emails sent. So, guess how reps choose to spend their sales prospecting time? Pestering strangers with cold calls, cold emails, and cold social media outreach. (Read “Are You Tracking the Right Referral Metrics?”)

Would You Encourage Your Children to Pursue Sales?

The facilitator asked a provocative question: How many of you would tell your children to pursue a sales career? Everyone laughed, but no hands went up. A surprising response, since the participants were all tenured and successful sales leaders. (My hand went halfway up, but that didn’t count.)

I can think of a few reasons sales pros wouldn’t encourage their children to follow in their footsteps—the long hours, the busy travel schedule that often keeps you away from home, the unpredictable income. But there’s also the fact that sales has a bad rap … and rightfully so in many cases. The used-car salesman image comes to mind. All talk, no sales ethics. (Read “Would You Encourage Your Children to Pursue Sales?

 

 

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